There was a discussion on one of the hiker boards I have been frequenting. “Have you ever had any of your stuff stolen?” Some people related tales of unfathomable sadness – returning to a peaceful camp site after a swim and having some of their stuff gone. The most lamentable scenario seemed to be being relieved of one’s food source. Yes, bears will tear open bags and drag off canisters, but sometimes fellow hikers will, as well. If you are three days from your car, being suddenly relieved of your only source of nourishment can be more than a distraction. It can be downright dangerous. We can live for many days without food, but we shouldn’t have to, especially when we are using over 4000 calories a day hiking.
So, people proposed all kinds of ideas. My favorite was quickly shot down: The booby trapped food. It reminded me of a story told to me by a professor. Picture this:
Someone kept stealing a man’s lunch from the office fridge. Sick of it, he decided to get a little revenge. His recipe for a revenge sandwich: Leave the half empty jar of mayo on the counter for two days with the top loose. Make a nice big ham sandwich with plenty of mayo. Bag it up and take it to work. Deposit in the office fridge. See who doesn’t come to work the next day because they are home sick as a dog. Revenge sometimes IS best served cold.
So, my idea was similar. What about the infamous laxative brownies? You find a guy five miles up the trail the next day who’s tearing off into the woods every few minutes, or some guy with a brown stain on his shorts, you might have your culprit. What about “lazy cakes”, those melatonin brownies that knock you out? Unwrap two, put them in a ziplock bag, and label it “moms brownies” or something similar. When you hear a group complaining they “can’t wake Bob up for anything!”, again, you may have your man.
I like the booby-trapped food idea. Simple, effective, and insidious.